Before Thesis Submission

UNSW HDR candidates are required to submit their thesis electronically using the GRIS Examinations module.

Before you submit your thesis for examination you must make sure you fulfill the following mandatory requirements: 

•    Make sure your thesis meets UNSW requirements - details on how to prepare your thesis are provided below and outlined in the Thesis Format Guide

•    Complete your official Notification of Intention to Submit (NOITS) - this must be done at least 2 months prior to your expected submission date and can be lodged via the GRIS Examinations module

•    Have your supervisor review your thesis and give their approval for its final submission


Preparing Your Thesis

You need to ensure that your thesis conforms to the University rules governing thesis format, structure, length and the inclusion of publications, as outlined in the Thesis Format Guide and read in conjunction with the UNSW Thesis Examination Procedure

You should also talk to your Supervisor or Postgraduate Coordinator about any style requirements that are specific to your discipline.

In addition to these requirements, it is important to consider how the presentation of your work affects the communication of your research and the coherence of your argument. You should ensure that your work is organised in a reader-friendly manner, including:

  • well-defined and organised structure with logical sequencing

  • a clear link between the introduction, where you outline your intentions, and the conclusion, where your intentions should be realised

  • well written, interesting, and logically presented arguments

  • excellent overall presentation, with correct spelling and grammar

It is also a good idea to consider the criteria that your examiners will consider, including:

  • demonstration of authority in your disciplinary field, and command of knowledge in relevant fields

  • thorough grasp of appropriate methodological techniques and an awareness of their limitations

  • significant contribution to knowledge in your field, based on originality of approach and/or interpretation of findings

  • ability to communicate research findings effectively in an international context


Research Integrity

As a research intensive university, UNSW requires researchers to produce work that is robust, accurate, and conducted in accordance with the UNSW Research Code of Conduct.

For more information, visit Research Integrity.



When reviewing your written work throughout your candidature, your supervisor will use iThenticate, a software tool that assists with similarity checks and plagiarism detection.  

Designed specifically for research outputs, iThenticate can help you and your supervisor ensure that you are communicating the originality of your approach, and using referencing appropriately.

For more information, visit iThenticate.



There are a number of events that provide UNSW candidates with help for thesis writing:


And remember - with each step completed make sure you back up, back up, back up! Buildings do burn down, laptops do get dropped or stolen. Make sure you regularly back up your work and put it in a secure location.


Editing and Referencing


You are expected to produce a well-structured and clearly argued thesis through your own efforts.

Your supervisor will provide you with editorial advice relating to the structure, substance, and tone of your thesis, along with your use of illustrations and tables. They may also assist with copy-editing and proofreading.

If you would like to engage the services of a professional editor, you should discuss this with your supervisor. If your supervisor gives their approval, you should read The Editing of Research Theses by Professional Editors Guidelines for guidance on what’s involved in having your thesis professionally edited.

Please be aware that professional editors can only provide you with copy-editing and/or proofreading services.

A list of professional editors is available from UNSW Student Academic and Career Success.



All Higher Degree Researchers are required to acknowledge the contributions and work of others.

In an effort to ensure that referencing is used appropriately in your thesis, your supervisor will review your written work with you using iThenticate, a software tool that assists with similarity checks and plagiarism detection. 

Referencing styles vary significantly from discipline to discipline. If you are unsure of the preferred method of referencing for your thesis, you should speak to your supervisor and/or Postgraduate Coordinator.

UNSW gives research candidates free access to EndNote – bibliographic software that allows the storage, organisation and management of references in a database. For more information, visit the UNSW Library


Apply for early submission

It is expected that candidates will submit their thesis in no less than 3 years (full time) for a PhD or 1.5 years (full time) for Masters program.

However, in exceptional circumstances, a candidate who demonstrates outstanding research skills may request submission of the thesis earlier than this.

To apply for early submission, you need to submit a request to your Faculty Higher Degree Committee (HDC). Your request should include:

  • Evidence of outstanding research during your candidature, including publication of a substantial body of work in leading international journals in your field; and

  • Supporting documentation from your primary supervisor and your Postgraduate Coordinator confirming that you will not be disadvantaged by submitting early; and

  • Confirmation via the annual Research Progress Review process that a high level of achievement throughout your candidature has been achieved.


Restricted Access

In some cases, a thesis may contain material that is commercial-in-confidence, give rise to a patent, or be legally or culturally sensitive. In such cases, a confidential examination may be required. 

The public availability of the thesis via the UNSW Library may need to be restricted. 

How to apply 

If you would like to request an embargo of 2 years or less, you can indicate your wishes when you deposit the final digital copies of your thesis to the Library. 

If you require an embargo on public access to your thesis for more than 2 years, you need to complete a Restricted Access More Than 2 Years Form before submitting your thesis for examination. Please discuss your plans with your supervisor, Postgraduate Coordinator, and any other relevant parties before submitting your application. Your application will be considered by the Dean of Graduate Research, and should be submitted at least six months before the submission of your thesis. 

Make sure to include: 

  1. A detailed and strong justification for your request. Please make sure to include the reasons for the specified length of restriction

  2. A detailed statement of support from your primary supervisor 

  3. Attach any additional documentation which will support your request 


What Happens Next?

If you are ready to submit your thesis, please visit Thesis Submission